Tag Archives: DARIUS

The Tale of Peter Rabbit in Galilean Aramaic: Hopefully by Easter

Where it looks like all publishing companies who have expressed any interest in The Tale of Peter Rabbit in Galilean Aramaic have also expressed regrets that it would be impossible to get published by Easter this year, I am now in the midst of planning to follow in the footsteps of Beatrix Potter, herself.

Not many people know that before Frederick Warne picked up Peter Rabbit as its official publisher that Ms. Potter had a private printing of some 250 books made to distribute to her family and friends. (Another neat tidbit was that among those who obtained a copy from that first run was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who bought a copy for his children.)

The first private printing was so popular that it ran out, so she had a second private printing of 500… which also quickly ran out.

Now, since there have been a significant number of individuals who have contacted me, asking when it’ll be ready for purchase, I don’t wish for them to be disappointed.

As such, an initial “private” first edition of 250 seems to be just about right with hope it’ll be just as popular. 🙂

This week I’ll be dedicating to editing the manuscript and compiling the glossary, and once those two things are taken care of, I’ll be setting up some means for pre-ordering.

If all goes well, I’ll also be able to reach my goals for affordability, as children’s books in ancient languages “ain’t cheap.” The Little Prince in Syriac goes for nearly $30 (yikes!), where Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Latin goes for $25.

Peter Rabbit on the other hand (and with much negotiation on Ms. Potter’s part) originally sold for a shilling. In modern currency that’s roughly $10 (depending on how you calculate it) so I figure that $10 is a good enough price to shoot for. If it’s not affordable, why bother?

In any case, wish me luck and there’ll be more news on this front soon. 🙂


Happy Valentine’s Day! (Now also in Mandaic)


My colleague James McGrath composed a beautiful Mandaic poem for the annual Eisenbrauns Valentine’s Day Contest and took first place!

Sadly, my entry (the Syriac Heart Pendants I’ve made) didn’t make it this year, but I’m glad to have helped co-edit the winning entry. 🙂

Next year however, James, Charles, and I may collaborate on another Mandaic endeavor and actually submit a Mandaic prayer bowl with poetry inscribed upon it, so we’ll see how that goes. 🙂


Here’s a bit from the GAL010: Everyday Aramaic (Galilean) course over at DARIUS in line with the season, how to say “I love you” in early Galilean Aramaic:

Latest Lesson: Holiday: Valentine’s Day

From a man to a woman

From a woman to a man

If you wish to be sweet, you can also follow it up with (“with all my heart”).


Announcing GAL010: Everyday Galilean Aramaic

How better to get back into the swing of things than sharing a family project?

Inspired by the serendipitous find of a metal-backed classroom-sized chalkboard (who just throws out a full sized chalkboard??!), we’ve embarked on an old-fashioned one room schoolhouse style experiment in teaching and learning Aramaic. But which dialect of Aramaic to use? Any dialect of Aramaic we chose would functionally become a private language in the hands (mouths?) of our family. We first considered Classical Syriac (a la Kthobonoyo) as it is a well-established literary dialect with a very wide vocabulary; however, Classical Syriac is admittedly only about 5-10% of what happens at Aramaic Designs.

Most of the translations I do focus upon reconstructing Old Galilean, i.e. Jesus’ Dialect) which is, needless to say, rather obscure, rather slim in attestation… and rather *dead.* Eastern Aramaic dialects are by far more common and survive to present day, where Western Aramaic dialects, like Galilean are only survived by *one* example (Ma’loula).

Nevertheless, the challenge that the idea presented seemed to be intriguing: Adapting a form of Galilean Aramaic to be an at-home language that would allow my family greater understanding of my work (and perhaps even the spark to carry it on).

So the following plan was devised:

As a matter of keeping a family routine, every day I put a short lesson up on the board (small enough to go over in 5 minutes) and we keep it in mind during the day and reward ourselves.

In these lessons, I’d devise a way to make this ancient dialect applicable to modern life while keeping as many archaic features intact as possible. There will obviously be compromises, but a working knowledge of a language in modern context (which is what a large number of our clients are after) would certainly make things easier to cast back into older literary forms in the day-to-day work that I take part in.

So, now it’s been about a month of lessons based on the alphabet and phrases relevant to our everyday lives, and it’s amazing how quickly my wife and eldest daughter are picking things up.

Things were going so well, that about a week ago my wife inquired why I didn’t put this up on DARIUS. I still felt that there were a number of kinks to work out, and that the lesson plans were very unstructured, but after some discussion, we realized that the way lessons were progressing was more of an advantage than a disadvantage.

Despite any drawbacks, sharing this on DARIUS looked like the best thing to do, not only to promote awareness, but to see who else was interested. So, I took the time to work out a consistent orthography and a rather “have at it” approach on whatever subjects come up in daily life.

The current lesson will always be up and available on DARIUS here for free:

The archives with extended commentary, exercises, and questions and answers will be available to access for less than a dollar a day. Anyone can enroll in the archive here:


Before the archive opens, I’m going to have at least a week’s-worth of content ready to go, but preregistration, as well as the current day’s lessons (as soon as they are posted in the morning) are both up and ready.

Tell me what you think. 🙂